Laurie Cook Heffron, Ph.D.

Laurie Cook Heffron, Ph.D.

Dean’s Post-Doctoral Fellow in Immigration and Violence Against Women and Lecturer

Laurie Cook Heffron’s  research focuses on the experiences of, and relationships between, violence against women and migration.

As former associate director for research at the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA), she contributed to multiple research projects, including a program evaluation for services to victims of human trafficking, a statewide domestic violence prevalence study, a program evaluation of the Texas Non-Report Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Program, and a national pilot program to develop professional and organizational resiliency among child welfare workers. Laurie also worked with IDVSA in completing a study of resettlement experiences among Congolese refugee women, and a statewide evaluation on human trafficking in collaboration with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Office of the Attorney General.

Laurie has both direct social work practice and research experience with a variety of immigrant communities, including refugees, survivors of human trafficking, and asylees. Previously, she served as program coordinator for Green Leaf Refugee Services, providing intensive health and emotional health case management services to refugees, victims of trafficking, asylees, and other immigrants in Central Texas. Currently, she provides pro bono psychosocial assessments to support the immigration cases of women and children seeking T visas, U visas, and asylum based on domestic violence.

Laurie completed her doctoral degree at The University of Texas at Austin as a Donald D. Harrington Fellow. Her dissertation is titled, “Salía de uno y me metí en otro:” A grounded theory approach to understanding the violence-migration nexus among Central American women in the United States.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Professional Interests

International social work; immigration and forced migration; human trafficking; violence against women; domestic violence; sexual assault


  • PH.D., The University of Texas at Austin
  • MSSW, The University of Texas at Austin
  • B.S., Georgetown University

Teaching History



Social Work Building


Mailing Address

The University of Texas
School of Social Work
1925 San Jacinto Blvd D3500
Austin, TX 78712-0358